BURNIE On A Quest To Be The Fastest Street-Legal Diesel Truck Ever

Building a race car or a race truck has always been common, but building something that can do both (reliably) hasn’t. In the last few years, Drag & Drive events like Rocky Mountain Race Week have really rocketed the popularity of street car/race car combo builds. As the coverage for these events funneled out over all platforms, we started seeing a myriad of builds — diesel-powered machines included.

In fact, in some post-event videos, we saw the familiar face of Robert Berry. Berry’s rat rod has earned a lot of publicity to date, and rightfully so. His ’45 Chevrolet, coined “BURNIE”, isn’t just built with good looks. Under the “hood” is home for a stubbornly tough 5.9-liter Cummins engine. We got in touch with Berry’s social media manager, Shane Wells, and got the download on Burnie.

The name “Burnie” was decided when the old truck’s interior/rat’s nests caught on fire during its build at Berry’s Builds.

“We have plenty of goals for Burnie, but our main goal is to make the truck the world’s fastest, street-legal, diesel-powered race truck,” Shane said. “Race Week was our testbed for Burnie, and although we ran into a few snags, we completed the week.” Race Week, for those of you who don’t know, is a week-long marathon where drivers and their passengers, race, sleep, and drive.

The event has you start at one location, make the fastest pass possible, and then drive it to the next stop or hotel hundreds of miles away. Driving from location to location is fine, but keep in mind, you also need to turn in the quickest pass possible for the day if you want to win the class you’ve entered. Building something fast and reliable isn’t usually easy — those two words don’t go together.

Burnie’s trip started at Tulsa Raceway Park, where Berry made 10.00-second quarter-mile passes look easy. Not really concerned with the competition, Berry wanted to just get the best pass as possible all week and then, in the end, crank it up. Their fastest pass was at Tulsa, with an 8.90 pass. What’s more, the truck was not under power when it tripped the lights.

“A fuel pressure bung ruptured and fuel was spraying the windshield on this run and Robert actually had to hit the brakes,” Shane said. ‘Luckily, Burnie finished straight and still managed to run an 8.90 pass at 140 mph.” So they’ve dipped into the 8-second range without being under power, so you know that it is going to be flying once they get it all lined up.

Burnie’s powerplant is a common-rail 5.9-liter Cummins engine that was built by Industrial Injection. The engine features a large set of injectors, tuning, and a huge set of compound turbos. A Garrett GT55 turbocharger, compounded with a 73/78 from Industrial, was enough to churn out 1,283-horsepower on Firepunk Diesel‘s dyno, with fuel only.

Other Burnie features include FASS Diesel Fuel Systems dual lift pumps, Edge Products‘ CTS monitor, Nitrous Express system, Goerend Transmission-built 48RE, Moser M8 Fabricated rear end with 45-spline axles, Wilwood Engineering disc brakes, and a set of Mickey Thompson tires.

“As we develop more experience this year with the new engine and drivetrain, we expect to be much more competitive next year. Not only are we making more power with Burnie, but all of this experience helps our tuning. Getting Burnie set up and totally dialed in with the best products will yield the best results. Our goal is to be in the 7’s,” Shane said.

What are your thoughts on Burnie? We are excited to see what next year holds for them on their quest to the 7’s.

About the author

Artie Maupin

Artie Maupin is from Southeast Missouri and has an extreme passion for anything diesel. He loves drag racing of all kinds, as well as sled pulling competitions.
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